Brain Drain

Chapter One

A Phone Call

Sharpay pressed her foot onto the speeder, watching as the speedometer went higher and higher, as she drove faster and faster down the deserted Albuquerque road. Houses, gardens and trees floated through her sight, and tears clouded her vision, as she placed even more pressure on her foot, hoping to get her car to drive even faster. Her face was cold, from the wind, and from her dried tears, and her hair flew back, creating almost a halo.

She closed her eyes for a second, feeling the stinging against her cheek, but opened them again, to see the road. It was completely dark outside, and the street lamps didn't help much, since she passed them quicker than they came into vision.

She needed to get her frustrations out. She couldn't take the pressure, she couldn't take this life. She hated her parents above everything else. Why did two people, who clearly didn't love each other, get married and have kids? Why did they place two children in this world when they were never there for them, and didn't care if they did good in school or had friends and were happy?

And when they finally were home, they did nothing but fight. It was one night a month, maybe not even that. And they had dinner together, and she and Ryan told about their school, while everything seemed quite wonderful. But after that… after she and Ryan had gone to upstairs, the yelling started, just because they thought their kids couldn't hear. But they heard everything. Every single word, and it definitely weren't good words.

"Well, you can just take care of your kids instead of travelling with me all over the world!" Vance yelled, angrily slamming the kitchen door close, to keep his kids from hearing the fight that was about to begin. He knew he and Auchanté would raise their voices, and he hated the thought of his kids hearing it.

"I'm being a good wife, am I not!?" Auchanté yelled, staring her husband deeply into the eyes, "I'm going with you because that's what I'm supposed to do! Just because I do it, doesn't mean I like it, does it?!"

"I never told you to go!" Vance said, his voice cold.

Sharpay let out a deep sigh, as she crawled backwards away from the keyhole. Ryan got up from his lying position on the floor, where he'd been looking underneath the door, to catch his parents' fight. It was obvious that a lot of stuff was going on behind closed doors, because when they finally were home, they did nothing but fight.

Sharpay couldn't help but let the tears fall, as she slowly tiptoed up the stairs, Ryan right behind her. She hated her parents, especially when they were home. They always fought. They tried to pretend like everything was okay, when she and Ryan were there, but as soon as they left, they started yelling. They even closed the door, hoping it'd hold back their screams. As if. Nothing could hold back the hate they felt for one another.

When they both entered her room, Ryan closed the door safely, and Sharpay threw herself onto her bed, crying softly into her pillow. She almost couldn't take it. She'd been looking forward to this night all month. They hadn't seen their parents in forever, and she had so many news for them. She had all kind of things she wanted to share with them, and she'd dressed up in her best dress, and done her hair and make-up perfectly for their family dinner. And tomorrow, she and Ryan had planned for them all to go play a happy game of family golf. But nothing went as planned. Her parents ruined everything.

She sniffled into her soft feather pillow, and buried her face deeper into it, embarrassed to look Ryan in the eyes. Sure, he'd seen her cry before. Hell, Troy Bolton had even seen her cry before, that time at Lava Springs during summer, but she hated when people saw her cry. It was the worst. But she couldn't help but cry in front of her brother when it came to her parents. It was one of the only things where she showed emotion to Ryan – to anyone, really. She wasn't good that, because it made her feel weak. And the Ice Princess wasn't weak. She was strong, and she didn't let anyone get through to her. She knew they all called her that, and it made her feel brilliant somehow, but right now, crying into her pillow in front of her brother, she didn't feel that brilliant and icy.

She felt a calm hand on her shoulder, and she slowly turned her head to stare deeply into Ryan's blue eyes. She loved him so much, though she'd never admit it. And she appreciated his friendship, and that he stuck with her through everything, though he was getting more independent. After everything that happened during summer, he'd spent more time with the Wildcats, but Sharpay herself wasn't. She'd never stoop that low, that was for sure. They were all beneath her status… maybe except for Troy, but she'd decided to forget about him.

"Calm down, sis," Ryan told her, brushing a piece of her bleach blonde hair out of her eyes, "It's gonna be okay. No matter what happens, we always have each other."

"Shut up, Ryan!" she mumbled, before sitting up completely. She angrily wiped her cheeks off, and took her pillow to her face, screaming into it for a second. It really was her way out of it all. It made her feel better about herself. She got everything out, all the stuff that was bottled up inside of her. She needed release, and when her parents were home for one weekend, they drew the final straw. She always snapped.

"No need to bite my head off, Shar," Ryan replied, his voice low and gently, though he sounded a bit hurt as well, like he did during summer when she wouldn't sing with him, "I'm only trying to help you. We gotta stick together. You know I love you, right?"

"Yeah, yeah," Sharpay mumbled, as she placed her pillow on the bed again, and drew in a calming breath, "Quit all your lovey-dovey talk, frankly, it's making me sick."

Ryan arched his left eyebrow slightly, and studied her, that certain look in his eyes. He didn't have to say anything, because she knew from that look, that he saw right through her.

"Yeah okay!" she finally gave in, rolling her eyes, "I love you too, Ryan, now will you get out of here!?"

Ryan let out a cheesy grin, and kissed her hair, "Now that's better…" he went for the door, and grabbed the handle closely, "Cheer up, Shar. It's Friday, we can hang out tomorrow. Maybe mom and dad will be better friends there. Who knows, maybe it'll even be fun?"

She crossed her arms tightly, an empty look in her eyes, "I doubt it…"

Ryan rolled his eyes slightly, and opened the door, to go to his room. However, her door didn't close completely, so she could hear the muffled voices of her mom and dad from downstairs. She suspected they were calming down now, because the yelling had stopped. She was also too lazy to get up and close the door completely. She turned around on her back, and stared at her ceiling, thinking things over in her head.

She didn't understand why her parents were so unhappy. Was it something that she and Ryan did? Did they do anything wrong, or weren't they good enough kids? Were their grades that bad, and didn't they act well enough or behave like rich kids? During summer her parents had seemed so happy, but she knew it probably was because all of the people around them. They'd had to act like a happy family. Because in real life, things had been like this since she could remember.

Suddenly she jumped into the air by a loud yell outburst from downstairs, and she fell on her butt at the hard floor. She closed her eyes, and rubbed her backside gently.



"WELL!" her father yelled again, his voice getting higher and higher, "YOU'RE FREE TO DO THAT! I WON'T CARE, I HAVE THINGS TO DO!"

Sharpay grabbed her iPod and quickly put her earpieces in, turning the volume up as high as it could go. She couldn't stand to listen to them, so she found one of her current favourite songs, 'Lips of an Angel' by hinder, and listened to that, to keep their voices out. She danced into her walk-in closet, finding a white tee with the pink words 'I'm Hot, You're Not!' written across the chest, along with a pair of grey Everlast sweatpants. She took it on, plus a pair of sneakers. Then she grabbed her purse, and took a deep breath.

She stepped closer to the window, and looked out of it, at the clear night sky. It was almost full moon, and the stars were shining brightly. She opened the window fully, and felt the cold, chilly breeze against her skin. It felt good in her throbbing eyes, and on her burning cheeks. She took in a deep breath, and let her lungs fill with air. It was what she needed, some fresh air.

She swung one leg out of the window, and onto the roof, quickly letting the other leg follow, so she was standing securely on the roof beneath her window. She steadied herself a bit, and closed her window, but made sure to let it be open a little, so she could get back in, before walking across the roof. She stopped before she had to cross Ryan's window, and leaned slightly forward, to see through it. He was watching TV in his boxers, with his side to the window, so she took the chance, and quickly passed it. She'd done it so many times before, when she wanted to get out a little. She knew Ryan wouldn't approve of her going out for a walk or a drive in the night, so she always did it without him knowing.

When she came to the end of the roof, she threw her purse down, where it landed on in the hence. Then she looked forward, her eyes printed on the branch she was going to jump to. It wasn't that far, but she knew she wasn't the best athlete. She'd done it many times before though, so she knew she could. She took a deep breath and jumped, her fingers closing safely around the branch. She looked down, and held her tongue in the corner of her lips, before letting go.

She landed on the ground with a thud, but she wasn't hurt. Quickly she grabbed her purse, and made a dash for her car, but she stopped in front of the kitchen window, where she could see her parents still fighting. She still couldn't hear them because of the music blaring in her ears, and she was happy with that. Her father seemed to be yelling, and her mother was holding up a frying pan, angrily pointing with it her father.

She shook her head softly, as a new bash of tears welled up in her eyes, and she crossed the lawn. She jumped into her car, and turned on the engine. Ripping her iPod out of her ears, to hear the smooth sounds of her car, she backed out of the driveway, and onto the deserted road…

She angrily wiped the thousandth tear off of her cheek. She'd done nothing but cry that night. And it was all because of them. She hated herself for being so weak, and she definitely wouldn't cry anymore. She promised herself that.

The fresh air had done her good, and the speeding was giving her a freedom she couldn't get in her little room. She wondered if they'd realized she wasn't there yet, or if they didn't even care. Ryan probably wouldn't bother her more tonight, so she should be in the clear. But you never know…

She closed her eyes again, just for a second, and then opened them again, letting the air get to them. She pushed her foot down on the pedal a lot harder, and just kept going. She didn't care; there was no one on the road. She looked in the mirror at herself, she looked a mess. Her hair was everywhere, and her mascara was smudged half way down her face. But this time; she really didn't give a shit.

As she let another dozen tears out, her vision blurred. She pushed her messy hair out of the way, and kept her eyes on the road. She pushed down harder on the pedal. Why did they do that? They must have realized by now, that they both could hear. But no, they continued, they didn't care. They didn't care about Sharpay or Ryan. They cared about themselves, and no one else.

Sharpay took one hand off of the driving wheel and put it to her head, where she rubbed her right temple softly. With all the shouting and crying, she had a throbbing headache. She hated her parents right now, she hated her life!

She looked down at her lap, closing her eyes. She couldn't deal with this anymore; it was too much for a teenage girl to go through. They hated each other so much, why didn't they just get on?, why didn't they just love each other? Why couldn't they be like a normal family? But of course they couldn't just be a normal family; they were the Evans family. Everyone thought they were happy, one big happy family. But that just wasn't true.

She let out an 'ugh' and rubbed her forehead, she really needed some medication right now. Her neck was hurting off hanging it down, so she lifted it up, keeping her eyes closed. She suddenly heard a car horn go off, five times. She opened her eyes, and flung her hands in front of her face.

White light.


Ryan lay back onto his bed, sighing. He could still hear the war that was going on downstairs, the war between his two loving parents. He stretched over to his table and took the remote, turning the T.V. up louder. He didn't want to hear their fight, he hated when his parents argued.

He was watching some stupid show, there was nothing on at this time of night. He wasn't actually watching it, he was just… thinking, but looking at the T.V. screen. In some way, he was taking the show in, but wasn't acting listening to it. He was daydreaming, he did that a lot. When his parents were fighting, he'd just take the time to think. He thought about how lucky he was, in actually having parents. He knew they fought whenever they were alone, but he thought about the children who didn't actually have parents, and he was glad he wasn't one of them.

The shouting died down for about five minutes, so Ryan turned the T.V. down and closed his eyes, trying to get some sleep, after all it was late. He started to drift off, until his cell started ringing.

Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?

Ryan groaned and chose to ignore it; he just pushed the phone away from him. It fell onto the floor, and made a soft bang. He didn't care; he just rolled over onto his other side, and continued sleeping.

Don't cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me?
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me?

He grabbed his cell off of the floor and sat Indian style on his bed. He flipped it open, groggily saying: "Hello?"

"Yes, hello. Can I speak to Mr. Ryan Evans please?"

"This is him."

"I don't know how to tell you this, but…" the woman on the other end of the phone took a breath and softly said: "Your sister was in a car crash."

So yeah. That was the first chapter of a joint fic between Stessa and XxCharmedxX. We hope you enjoyed it, and we'll be back with more soon. Also, please leave us a review! It'd mean the world to us.

Dedication; Catie. We love you so much, girlie. You're the greatest. This whole story is all for you, seriously, and it's because we love you like that. We hope you'll enjoy this story as well, through all the chapters!

Disclaimer; We don't own High School Musical, or the song 'Don't Cha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me?'.

- Stessa and Bethany.